Hospitals continue to cut energy usage, costs

Hospitals in the Midwest and other parts of the United States use less energy than they have in the past, and their costs are also down according to a new survey by the energy firm Grumman/Butkus Associates.

The company surveyed 117 hospitals, three-quarters of which were based in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. In 2014, they spent $3.41 per square foot on energy, down from nearly $3.50 per square foot in 2013 and nearly $3.60 per square foot in 2008, although it is up slightly from 2012. In some states, such as Wisconsin, energy costs were as low as $3.14 per square foot.

Grumman/Butkus said it focuses primarily on one region of the country because energy costs are similar and data does not need to go through complex readjustments, according to Energy Manager Today.

Overall energy use is also down, from more than 275,000 BTUs in 2008 to about 245,000 BTUs per square foot in 2014.

"Hospitals are investing in efficiency measures and making progress, but have much further to go," said Grumman Chairman Daniel Doyle in a statement. "Some of the low-hanging fruit is gone, but there are still many cost-effective opportunities remaining for reducing energy usage and costs."

Doyle told Energy Manager Today that hospitals are under pressure to cut costs. As a result, many have changed to LED bulbs, put light timers in rooms, and shut off lights and other power in administrative offices during downtimes. NorthShore University Health System in the Chicago area, which at one time spent $20 million annually on energy costs, changed out many of its lighting systems a few years ago.

Hospitals also have a variety of options for going green, including using local food for the cafeteria and seeking out more environmentally friendly disposal methods.

To learn more:
- read the Grumman/Doyle statement 
- check out the Energy Manager Today article 
- here's the energy usage survey